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Future


Navigating toward the best of all possible futures. Follow along as Singularity Hub discusses the future and latest trends in futurology.

Saving the Seas: New Technologies to Protect the Ocean

The ocean covers more than 70 percent of our planet’s surface. The Pacific alone is more than 60 million square miles. And yet, technologists are often focused on their home turf, populating roads with...

Whale-Watching from Space: Why Satellites Are Monitoring Wildlife

A new study of whales shows that advances in satellite imagery and related technologies mean we can now recognize specific features of animals all the way from space. It is the latest in a...

The Promise—and Complications—of Domestic Robots

Every year, for just a few days in a major city, a small team of roboticists get to live the dream: ordering around their own personal robot butlers. In carefully-constructed replicas of a restaurant...

Britain Is Developing an AI-Powered Predictive Policing System

The tantalizing prospect of predicting crime before it happens has got law enforcement agencies excited about AI. Most efforts so far have focused on forecasting where and when crime will happen, but now British...

Inspired by Sci-Fi, an Airplane With No Moving Parts and a Blue Ionic Glow

Since their invention more than 100 years ago, airplanes have been moved through the air by the spinning surfaces of propellers or turbines. But watching science fiction movies like the Star Wars, Star Trek,...

Digital Authoritarianism Is Rising. Here’s What That Means

The internet has long been touted as a force for freedom that can topple dictatorships around the world. But according to a new report on digital freedom, authoritarian forces are clawing back control and...

It’s Time For an Airport Security Tech Upgrade

We’re in the midst of one of the busiest weeks of the year for air travel, with 30.6 million passengers expected to fly on US airlines in the days leading up to and following...

Follow the Data? Investigative Journalism in the Age of Algorithms

You probably have a picture of a typical investigative journalist in your head. Dogged, persistent, he digs through paper trails by day and talks to secret sources in abandoned parking lots by night. After...

The Fascinating, Creepy New Research in Human Hibernation for Space Travel

No interstellar travel movie is complete without hibernators. From Prometheus to Passengers, we’ve watched protagonists awaken in hibernation pods, rebooting their fragile physiology from a prolonged state of suspended animation—a violent process that usually...

Our Voting System Is Hackable. Here’s How to Secure It

The November 6, 2018 midterm elections are being widely regarded as a referendum on President Trump, but they will also serve another, less obvious purpose. The integrity of our election infrastructure is being tested....

NASA Wants to Send Humans to Venus. Here’s Why That’s a Brilliant Idea

Popular science fiction of the early 20th century depicted Venus as some kind of wonderland of pleasantly warm temperatures, forests, swamps and even dinosaurs. In 1950, the Hayden Planetarium at the American Natural History...

Will Tech Make Insurance Obsolete in the Future?

We profit from it, we fear it, and we find it impossibly hard to quantify: risk. While not the sexiest of industries, insurance can be a life-saving protector, pooling everyone’s premiums to safeguard against some of...

Could Tech Make Government As We Know It Irrelevant?

Governments are one of the last strongholds of an undigitized, linear sector of humanity, and they are falling behind fast. Apart from their struggle to keep up with private sector digitization, federal governments are...

The Rise of Dataism: A Threat to Freedom or a Scientific Revolution?

What would happen if we made all of our data public—everything from wearables monitoring our biometrics, all the way to smartphones monitoring our location, our social media activity, and even our internet search history? Would...

Outdated Evolution: Updating Our Governments to Cope with Disruptive Technology

What happens when evolution shapes an animal for tribes of 150 primitive individuals living in a chaotic jungle, and then suddenly that animal finds itself living with millions of others in an engineered metropolis,...

What Would It Take to Build a Tower as High as Outer Space?

The human desire to create ever bigger and more impressive structures is insatiable. The pyramids of Ancient Egypt, the Great Wall of China, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai—now the tallest edifice in the...

Why the Future Is Arriving Faster Than You Think

People have no idea how fast the world is changing. So said Peter Diamandis to the audience at Singularity University’s Global Summit, taking place this week in San Francisco. Diamandis believes the convergence of multiple...

China Is Building a Fleet of Autonomous AI-Powered Submarines. Here Are the Details

A fleet of autonomous, AI-powered submarines is headed into hotly-contested Asian waterways. The vehicles will belong to the Chinese armed forces, and their mission capabilities are likely to raise concerned eyebrows in surrounding countries. According...

AI Can Help Create a Better World—If We Build it Right

Society is rife with fears about the future of AI. For some, like Richard Branson and Ray Dalio, it’s AI’s exacerbation of the wealth gap and the looming social crisis it could bring about....

Could Machine Learning Mean the End of Understanding in Science?

Much to the chagrin of summer party planners, weather is a notoriously chaotic system. Small changes in precipitation, temperature, humidity, wind speed or direction, etc. can balloon into an entirely new set of conditions...

Graphene and Beyond: The Astonishing Properties and Promise of 2D Materials

Since graphene was first isolated in 2004, a Nobel Prize-winning feat that sparked a whole new exciting field of materials science research, 2D materials have had all kinds of suggested applications. Now, at the...

This Mind-Controlled Robotic Limb Lets You Multitask With Three Arms

If you’ve ever juggled a situation where two arms aren’t enough, you’re in luck! Thanks to a new study published in Science Robotics, humans have the ability to mind-control a robotic arm on a...

How Technology Is Helping Close the Gender Gap and Empower Women

Gender inequality is not an issue that only affects women. When half of the human population is denied their full potential, the world as a whole is at an enormous disadvantage. Despite an increase...

From Here to Human-Level Artificial General Intelligence in Four (Not All That) Simple Steps

In the 15 years since I first introduced the term "artificial general intelligence" (AGI), the AI field has advanced tremendously. We now have self-driving cars, automated face recognition and image captioning, machine translation and...

Is the Rise of AI on Wall Street for Better or Worse?

May 6, 2010, is a date that should live in infamy. On that day, the US stock market suffered a trillion-dollar collapse. Do you remember it? In just 15 minutes from 2:45 pm, the Dow...

Why Most of Us Fail to Grasp Coming Exponential Gains in AI

By now, most of us are familiar with Moore’s Law, the famous maxim that the development of computing power follows an exponential curve, doubling in price-performance (that is, speed per unit cost) every 18...

The Earth’s Carrying Capacity for Human Life Is Not Fixed

In a recent Nature Sustainability paper, a team of scientists concluded that the Earth can sustain, at most, only 7 billion people at subsistence levels of consumption (and this June saw us at 7.6...

Traditional Advertising Is Soon to Be History. Here’s What Will Replace It

This year (2018), the global advertising industry is projected to surpass $550 billion. Advertising revenues have driven Google’s valuation to >$700 billion, and Facebook to >$500 billion. All of that is about to change. What...

New DNA Synthesis Method Could Soon Build a Genome in a Day

Synthetic biologists are the computer programmers of biology. Their code? DNA. The whole enterprise sounds fantastical: you insert new snippets of DNA code—in the form of a chain of A, T, C, G letters—into an...

Laws of Flight: As Drones Take Off, Regulation Lags

In 2014, a drone got tangled in the power lines outside a South Carolina prison carrying a small payload of marijuana and a cellphone. Police arrested a man in a nearby campsite who’d been...

New Evidence That the World Really Is Getting Better

If you allow your perception of humanity to be shaped by the news, it is easy to lose sight of the narrative of human progress. Struggling democracies, suicide epidemics, climate change, and acts of...

Are Electric Planes the Future of Aviation?

Last week saw a rather unusual flight plan. Norway’s Transport Minister and the CEO of its major airport operator, Avinor, flew a quick lap around Oslo’s airport in a tiny two-person plane. Unremarkable—except that...

The Smart Road Tech That’s Making Driving Faster, Safer, And Just Better

From autonomous cars to flying taxis to electric-powered aircraft, technological innovations in transportation vehicles seem to be moving faster than Elon Musk’s express loop underneath Chicago. But when it comes to regular roads and...

Video Gamers May Soon Be Paid More Than Top Pro Athletes

Your interest in sports may have started out as a hobby when you were just a kid. You were better at it than others, and some even said you were gifted. Maybe you had...

How Will Artificial Intelligence Affect the Risk of Nuclear War?

As technology has progressed, humans have become ever more powerful. With this power comes great opportunity and great risk. Nowhere is this clearer than in the potential of artificial intelligence. But a new report...

Is It Moral to Seek Immortality? A Discussion at the Vatican

Earlier this month, I participated in a discussion/debate at the Vatican on the topic of “The Morality of Immortality.” The discussion was moderated by CNN medical anchor Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and included Rabbi Dr. Edward...

5 Organizations Using Cool Tech Solutions and Research to Clean Up the Oceans

The Earth is an ocean world. From space, this fact is obvious, whether the planet appears as a bluish dust mote at the edge of the solar system, a bright sapphire star from our...

Holograms Can Now Program Brain Activity—Are Fake Experiences Next?

Optogenetics, neuroscience’s hottest mind-control tool, just got a major update. Projecting 3D-light holograms—yes, holograms!—directly onto a mouse’s cortex, engineers at UC Berkeley instantaneously gained control of dozens of neurons at once. That’s not the impressive part....

Will Europe’s Looming Tech Rules Prove to Be a Template for the World?

There was a time when people bought most of the software on their computer, but this is, of course, now ancient history. Some software you still buy, but much of today’s most-used software is...

Stuff 3.0: The Era of Programmable Matter

It’s the end of a long day in your apartment in the early 2040s. You decide your work is done for the day, stand up from your desk, and yawn. “Time for a film!”...

Tech Optimists See a Golden Future—Let’s Talk About How We’ll Get There

Technology evangelists dream about a future where we’re all liberated from the more mundane aspects of our jobs by artificial intelligence. Other futurists go further, imagining AI will enable us to become superhuman, enhancing...

Robot Cities: Three Urban Prototypes for Future Living

Before I started working on real-world robots, I wrote about their fictional and historical ancestors. This isn’t so far removed from what I do now. In factories, labs, and of course science fiction, imaginary...

How Will Merging Minds and Machines Change Our Conscious Experience?

One of the most exciting and frightening outcomes of technological advancement is the potential to merge our minds with machines. If achieved, this would profoundly boost our cognitive capabilities. More importantly, however, it could...

The Wild New Materials of the Future Will Be Discovered With AI

How materials for computer chips, solar panels, and batteries are developed looks to be in the early stages of a radical change. The same goes for research related to areas like superconductors and thermoelectrics. The...

Republish Our Content—Singularity Hub Launches Creative Commons

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re excited to finally announce we have officially launched a new way for publishers to easily (and legally) republish our articles on their sites. We believe an important...

What If the AI Revolution Is Neither Utopia nor Apocalypse, but Something in Between?

Why does everyone assume that the AI revolution will either lead to a fiery apocalypse or a glorious utopia, and not something in between? Of course, part of this is down to the fact that...

If Energy Becomes Free in the Future, How Will That Affect Our Lives?

Technology is making the cost of many things trend towards zero. Things we used to have to pay a lot for are now cheap or even free—think about how much it costs to buy...

How We Can ‘Robot-Proof’ Education to Better Adapt to Automation

Like millions of other individuals in the workforce, you’re probably wondering if you will one day be replaced by a machine. If you’re a student, you’re probably wondering if your chosen profession will even...

What Roboticists Are Learning From Early Generations of Lifelike Humanoid Robots

You might not have heard of Hanson Robotics, but if you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen their work. They were the company behind Sophia, the lifelike humanoid avatar that’s made dozens of high-profile media...

The Power to Upgrade Our Own Biology Is in Sight—But Is Society Ready for Human Enhancement?

Upgrading our biology may sound like science fiction, but attempts to improve humanity actually date back thousands of years. Every day, we enhance ourselves through seemingly mundane activities such as exercising, meditating, or consuming...

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